Welcome to 6.08

Spring 2020

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1) May 18, 2020 Update

Hi all,

I hope you've had a nice weekend and any other final projects and/or final exams are going ok.

For the last few years in 6.08 a portion of the final kits needs to be returned for reuse and to keep the cost of the class down. This is the same for this year. For 2020 we require the following parts to be returned:

  • The microphone
  • The IMU (MPU6050)
  • The GPS unit (removed carefully so you don't damage the antenna)
  • additional programming equipment (students who had the issues programming the ESP32 got those additional programming boards...we need those and their supporting cables back)
  • Any remaining battery equipment or batteries
  • The carrying case/fire-suppressant bag.

This means the ESP32, the breadboard, the LCD, and the buttons and wires, phototransistors, resistors, and final project parts are yours to keep if you'd like for continued personal development.

With that said, if you don't see yourself using leftover parts from the class (the ESP32, final project parts, etc), we'd really like you to just return everything so we can recycle them and use them in future years. This is both to save on costs, but also to be more environmentally and globally friendly. The impact of electronics manufacture on the environment and on people is often ignored since we deem them so essential to our everyday lives, but it really does add up. Every ESP32 we can reuse, is one less that we need to order, one less ESP32 that needs to get manufactured, less ferric chloride and HF that probably gets flushed down the drain in a poorly regulated region of the world, fewer tantalum capacitors that need to get produced, less coltan that needs to be mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which can lead to exploitative labor practices and civil war. I'm not trying to guilt anybody, but since you need to return some parts anyways, just really reflect if you need to keep any of it. But also if you want to continue messing with the ESP32, then keep it!

As far as how to return these parts. There's a few options. If you will return to campus in the future some time (hopefully fall term), then we'd like you to just drop those parts off outside my office (38-583...on the opposite side of the floor from the 6.08 lab) in the first week or two after you come back. Based on registration numbers, this will cover the vast majority of students in 6.08, including a sizable fraction of seniors returning eventually to MEng. We will send reminder emails as well in this regard.

If you will not be returning to MIT ever within the next year (as in if you're not graduating), I need you to email me (jodalyst@mit.edu) so we can work out a way for you to mail these parts back. There's a couple options on that front, but we'll handle them on a case-by-case basis.

Thanks, as always feel free to email/piazza post any questions you might have.


2) May 12, 2020 Update

Hi all,

This is serving as a reminder that the final report and reflection document are due tonight at 10PM (Unicode symbol 0xf09f9889...see previous post @1855). Each team should make sure to upload their entire report into their team's shared Google Drive (in the folder named "TEAM XY Final Project Submission" that has been created for you... again, more details are found in piazza post: @1855).

In addition, each person should upload an individual reflection document using the page HERE.

Last day folks! To help you finish strong and on-time, here is some completely relevant and serious

6. 0 8

motivational music.

3) May 06, 2020 Update

Hi all, below are some instructions for the last two assignments of the semester (the final report and the reflection document).

Final Report:

  • A folder will appear in your team's shared sub-folder called "TEAM X FINAL PROJECT SUBMISSION". Into this folder you should place your final writeup as well as any supporting images/resources. We should be able to download this complete folder and view it locally on our machine with no hidden or missing images. All material for the final report is due at Tuesday May 12th at 10PM EDT. I am told by Ravi and Erica that there is a bug (a beneficial bug...like a honeybee or ladybug...aphids are like guru meditation panics in this analogy) in the script which means the folder won't lock nor will we scrape it for submissions until 5AM EDT on Wednesday May 13th....just saying.
  • Your final report should:
    • Be made up of a single-page web-viewable document (.html or .md.html file. Basically what you've been doing for your weekly writeups). It is your responsibility to make sure everything renders correctly. If we have to hack at your page in order to be able to read it, you'll lose points.
    • You can (and it would be a good idea) to reuse a lot of material from your weekly writeups in crafting your final report (this is one reason we had you do this. If you've been doing good, solid writeups all along, then many pieces of your final report are already written). This does not mean you can just copy paste the writeups together.
    • At a high level, the report should provide a medium-depth discussion of your entire system. A reader should be able to understand what the system does, how the system operates, and have sufficient understanding of why your system was designed the way it was.
    • Figures are helpful! The report should include block diagrams of the system, more detailed schematics where relevant, as well as state machine diagrams and other graphics to succinctly convey your system design. A figure is often more effective than text in conveying many ideas.
    • The final writeup should NOT contain your project's entire code-base, though small highlighted sections can be included if they are particularly critical to understanding your design. Instead you should include high-level documentation to describe all the files and important functions, classes, and other data structures of your system, including database details. We would like to provide next year's class with all of these reports and realized this year that all the embedded code in students' 2019 reports made sharing them less than ideal from a copy-paste perspective. So no code dump should be in this report. (A note about your team's code is included below, though).
    • The final report should include a video demonstration of the system's functionality in operation and any other information you’d like to convey. This video should be thought of as almost an abstract and can be narrated and edited however you want (I think no TikTok for this, friends). We would expect this video to be a bit more polished than weekly videos included in the writeup reports. Think of this video as a way to substitute for people not being able to see your project running in person. It should ideally appear at the top of your report.
    • In addition We'd like you to reorganize your weekly demo/milestone videos and include them at the very end of the document one more time clustered by how each milestone helped with a particular functionality of the final system with the benefit of hindsight.
    • Two examples of final reports from 2019 that fit most of these requirements are shown below (note meetings were in person that year, so they didn't have an archive of weekly writeups and videos to draw from/add but the general structure of what we want for 2020 is good!):
    • In addition, within the "TEAM X FINAL PROJECT SUBMISSION" please place a complete copy of your team's source code in an organized fashion. This code does not need to be linked in your final writeup text. (don't dump all the ESP32 and python files together. Please organize this). We'll be using this for archival purposes, though we won't publish anything in there.

Reflection Document:

Each person on each team must submit a short reflection document here (due 10PM EDT May 12). You do not need to share the content of this document with other members of your team. In this reflection document (which must be a PDF less than one page in length), briefly discuss how your and your team operated:

  • Did your team work well together? Was the work evenly split? Were there any issues/difficulties encountered?
  • How did your team organize work every week? How often did you meet outside of the weekly meeting with staff?
  • How did you do within the context of the team? What were ways you could improve?
  • Any other concerns/issues/thoughts you feel are relevant

4) April 26, 2020 Update

Hi all,

I hope your weekend has been good and final projects are going along ok (about halfway through!) A few updates:

  • First we just wanted to remind you that office hours do continue to happen at the regularly scheduled times. There were a number of questions about this in the last week or so.
  • Most parts have been shipped for people. The last remaining ones on the spreadsheet will go out tomorrow morning. Based on current shipping times, particularly for parts that need to get to Boston first, we're going to stop processing orders for new parts after Tuesday this week (ordering stuff after that just doesn't make practical sense given the final due date and the current turn-around on parts which has been hovering at about 7-to-10 days.)
  • Just for planning/reminder purposes, all teams will have their final reports due on Tuesday May 12 (both Thursday and Tuesday teams) at 9.59PM EDT.

5) April 08, 2020 Update

Hi all,

Teams that are in Group A (the Thursday Group) will be doing their meeting 0 tomorrow with their advising staff in their scheduled half-hour blocks. Group B (Tuesday Groups) will be on Tuesday next week. By the time of the meeting, please upload to your team's google drive folder your project proposal, discussed here and here.

The goal of the project proposal isn't for it to be super formal, but we need to see that some thought has gone into what you want to do, what you need to do it (equipment, resources), and how you plan to do it (what gets done in each week). The purpose of meeting 0 is to review this and adapt it if needed to lay out goals for the four weeks of the project. The goals you lay our will probably change week-to-week and that's fine so in addition to the overall project goal, a lot of emphasis will be placed on what you expect/intend to do during week 1.

6) April 07, 2020 Update

The link to the midterm exam is here. The page will become active at your assigned time.

7) April 06, 2020 Update

Few quick announcements about the midterm tomorrow.

In the late afternoon tomorrow a link will appear on the main page of iesc.io/608/S20 (the regular course site). This will take you to the midterm. The midterm will activate at your assigned time (7:35PM by default, different if prior arrangements were made). The exam will stay active for two hours until 9:35PM at which point submissions will no longer be accepted.

We will utilize piazza during the exam for proctoring. Around 7:00PM we will switch the class Piazza over so questions default to private. During the exam, if you have a question, post a private question on piazza and a staff member will answer it. If a global announcement needs to be made, we'll do that on piazza with a public post.

Students with accommodations or alternative exam times have been emailed confirmations in the last half-hour. If you did not receive one but were expecting one, please email me as soon as possible.


8) April 05, 2020 Update

Final Project:

Teaming assignments and time slots are posted here. We'll post information about advising teams in another day or so. Teams that have been assembled from smaller groups have been put on Tuesday (further into the future so they have more time to synchronize and come up with a plan). The document may change very slightly since there are a few teams that have outstanding information, but unless you're contacted directly this is your time slot.

What is due for Meeting 0: Your proposal. You should, by your assigned meeting time on Thursday or Tuesday, have uploaded your project proposal including a table describing weekly deliverables and milestones for the duration of the project. See the final project page for more details on what should go into this. A link to the team upload page will be released later this week.

In future weekly meetings, your weekly writeup will be due the night before (11:59PM EDT) your scheduled meetings so staff have time to review them.


The TAs and some LAs are doing a review session for the midterm today at 4-6PM (EDT/MIT time) on Zoom at https://mit.zoom.us/j/719387711.

If you have an exam conflict and have not already contacted me/figured out a time, please email me as soon as possible!

If you have an exam accommodation (such as extended time), please also contact me to verify timing and requirements.

A short practice test is here (just a few questions, but more representative of the style for 2020.): demo midterm. Solutions for this are here

9) April 03, 2020 Update

Hi 6.08!

Teaming: A reminder to please submit your teaming preferences/docs by tonight. I'd like it by 11:59 EDT, but if you need a few more hours after that, that's fine (where "few" is an integer less than five).

Curriculum Modifications:

Some updates about expectations for the rest of the semester.

Not much in our class will actually be changing going forward in terms of grading or syllabus. Point allocations of all assignments going towards the final grade will stay the same as they were originally laid out. The last day you can turn in pre-project assignments will be Sunday April 12th at 11:59pm (this got extended a bit because of the design exercises). Make sure you get anything in (like missing labs) before that time. At that point, the auto-extensions script will run.

What it will mean to "pass" in 6.08 for this term will be based upon your final grade. If you are at what would have been a C- and above, this will correspond to a passing grade for the PNR purposes. Numerically we don't have exact cutoffs since they change every semester a bit, but historically 90 and above has been an A/A- grade, 80 and above has been a B/B- grade, 70 and above has been a C/C- grade (the internal). These cutoffs are rough and can be revised downward based on circumstances and other data (exam overall performance). They cannot be revised upward.

The only real change to how grading will be done overall in the class corresponds to the final project. A passing grade in 6.08 requires the completion of the final project up through the final report. What this means is numerically even if your grade is in the A/B/C range, if you don't finish the final project or give up that can impact the ability to pass the class. We don't really anticipate this being a problem, but we're putting this rule in place to ensure teams keep working together effectively throughout the duration of the project.

IMPORTANT: Please also know that we (the staff) want you to pass and do well! If you have any questions/concerns, totally send us an email and we can set up a meeting or whatever is best.

10) April 01, 2020 Update (Midterm)

Midterm Update Hi all, just a few updates in regards to the midterm.

Just a few updates about the midterm:

The midterm will take place on Tuesday April 7th, 2020. The exam will be from 7:35pm to 9:35pm MIT Time. If you have a conflict with this time, please email me if you haven't already. The midterm comprises 15% of your final grade in 6.08 and will take place over two hours. The exam will be online and based around multiple choice questions (>= 50 of them). You are allowed a calculator. All necessary documentation will be provided on the exam including pinouts, and necessary code or API documentation.

The exam will be open notes since it is on a computer anyways. It will be done in the course website/tutor (in catsoop). You are not to collaborate with anyone on the exam both during or after it (some people will be taking makeup exams since we're spread all over this Big Blue Marble). You are not to use online nor on-computer code evaluation tools during the exam. You will sign your name/credentials at the beginning of the exam attesting to the fact that you are not doing any of these things.

We will use Piazza during the exam for any questions you may have (staff will be monitoring it). If you have any questions, post a private question. If there are any errata, we will communicate them through Piazza.

We will post a small mock-exam this weekend so you're familiar with the format and can test everything. It will be similar to the interface of the exercises, but customized for an exam setting.

11) March 29, 2020 Updates Part 2:

The final project page(s) are here. They cover the timeline of the projects, what's expected, etc. The major action item for this week is teaming, discussed in Section 4 of the final project page. Please follow the directions there while submitting teams/team requests!

12) March 29, 2020 Updates Part 1:

Hello 6.08. some updates!

6.08 officially starts back up again on Monday.

We will be having some experimental office hours this evening (Sunday) from 4-10pm MIT Time (GMT-4). You can go on the queue and a staff member will claim you and a video chat will set up which you can join. It uses jitsi which is supported natively in the browser, though I think Safari has problems with it so avoid that browser (use Firefox or Chrome, Mac people). We'll still have rolling office hours on Piazza as has been happening the last few weeks. Whatever is best for you.

A few dates/reminders for people (nothing really new, but putting all in one place):

  • Exercise 06 is due Monday March 30th at 9:00am MIT Time.
  • The design exercises for Exercise 05 are due March 30th at 11:59pm MIT Time.
  • The design exercises for Exercise 06 are due April 5th at 11:59pm MIT Time.
  • Exercise 07 is out tomorrow and due on April 5th at 11:59pm MIT Time. There are two design exercises in this set. They are due 11:59pm MIT Time on April 12th. This is the last exercise set.
  • Lab08A will come out Tuesday 9AM MIT Time. It will be due Sunday April 5th 11:59pm MIT Time. There is no Lab08B. Lab08A is the last lab of the semester.
  • During Lab sessions this week (the regular lab times, staff will be active and monitoring the help queue). Lab 08A has been rewritten to be similar to Lab06A in style. It can be done on your own and you can either do the checkoff live/over-video with a staff member, or you can submit a writeup and have it graded outside of class hours. We're allowing both ways to allow maximum flexibility.
  • The midterm exam will take place on Tuesday April 7th from 7:35pm to 9:35 pm MIT time. It will be online.
  • Office hours will be at their normal times throughout the week as they were earlier in the semester, using the same online-style centered around the queue

Additionally, later today, I'll open up/post some more information about final projects. The only real pressing issue at the moment is teaming.